You can’t miss Margo Moore Interiors. Driving North on Route 1 into downtown Camden, the shop is one of the first points to catch your eye. Its ever-vibrant, ever-changing street-front window display room engenders a distinct joie de vivre that is the mark of the Margo Moore sensibility.
Walking into the shop gives one a complete picture of the breadth of its offerings: boldly colored home wares, elegant furnishings, bedding, carpets, lighting, soaps, gift trinkets, and more can be found for sale on the first floor of the shop. Also on the first floor is their famous display room usually showcasing a thoughtfully laid out and well-curated bedroom or cottage dining room. On the second floor is an interior design studio complete with thousands of fabric swatches, a textile library, trims and wallpapers, and other design samplings. The desks of Marcy Van der Kieft and her daughter, Megan, also live on the second floor.
It is a family affair, with Marcy at the helm, her husband Peter focused on the marketing and the designing of the window displays, and Megan instilling her own personal touch as a partner in both the interior design aspect of the business as well as in the curation of the shop’s offerings. On this particular day, Megan and staff are rearranging displays on the first floor. Marcy is tending to her golden lab, a friendly fixture at the shop.
We’ve long been fans of Margo Moore Interiors, which has been a staple of the community for more than 40 years. We were so thrilled when they started to carry Swans Island blankets, so we decided to stop in one day and hear a little more about the history of the shop, which we were surprised to learn started neither in Maine nor in interior design. The seed was first planted with Marcy’s mother (and the shop’s namesake), Margo, who opened a women’s clothing shop in Darien, Connecticut. Margo’s passion for fashion and clothing and her keen sense of style greatly influenced daughter Marcy, who went on to a career in textiles and fashion, which included a stint as associate fashion editor for Mademoiselle. Marcy took over the Darien shop but eventually moved headquarters to Camden and shifted her focus on to interiors. Ever since then, Marcy and Co. have established themselves as authorities on the Maine style vernacular — transforming houses into homes by incorporating their distinct warmth, meshing old traditions with new, refreshed styles, and elevating simple elements with pops of color or with unique twists on pattern combinations. All the while ever respectful of and highlighting the beauty and splendor of Maine.
“This is a very special, magical place,” says Megan. “I’ve traveled to a lot of places, but there’s nothing like Maine. And the sense of community you find right here in this pocket of the midcoast is something we don’t take for granted, not in our personal lives nor in our work.”
Indeed they are designers who pride themselves on their ability to listen to their clients and to balance this with their own respective design philosophies, which, as you can imagine for a mother and daughter, are slightly distinct from one another. Marcy favors traditional styles and bold colors. Megan, who grew up in Camden and graduated from the Wentworth Institute of Design, has a more understated and modern palette. Yet they work together in complementary ways. And their experiences have offered them an intuitiveness and a knack for what patterns and styles will go well together.
“I was working on a woman’s bedroom and she grabbed a bunch of blankets that she then laid out on the bed for styling,” says Megan. “They looked completely fine and beautiful, but I had a sense that I could elevate that warmth and sophistication.”
So she made a suggestion: Replace the blankets with Swans Island blankets. Immediately, Megan says, it changed the setting of the bed and the space, giving it beautiful, understated hues of color and a style that was both classic and modern.
“It just looked so elegant and perfect,” says Megan. “When Mom and I believe in something, we can sell it. When we understand and know the product, like we do Swans Island blankets, there is an organic way in which we are able to incorporate those products into the style of a home. What I love about Swans Island is its natural look; it’s not overly colorful or pretentious. There is a natural touch and feel that is unique to these blankets.”
“Part of our job is not just to make a room distinct but to also make it feel like home. When you add in accents of Maine, it really transforms a house into a home.”
There are few things more comforting than curling up in a handmade blanket on a cold day. Blankets keep us warm in bed, on the couch, on our porch or at our writing desk. They soothe us when we’re unwell, provide warmth for our little ones asleep in bed, and help us unwind after a long day at work.
But what separates Swans Island winter-weight handmade blankets from most other handmade blankets is that our wool blankets are made in the USA and are designed with both practicality and beauty in mind, providing breathable warmth and an inimitably classic style. Thanks to the processes we honor and use at Swans Island, much of the natural lanolin in the wool is retained, making for the softest, most supple and loftiest handmade blanket you’ll ever own. And each Swans Island winter blanket is hand-woven with two layers of 100 wool, which means extra warmth for colder climes. And with a handful of styles to choose from, you’ll find one that suits your personal style. Our natural colors range from solid colors—like our all-indigo or all-white blanket—to checked colors—like our white with yellow checks and the popular white with grey checks. There is also our rare wool equinox blanket, made from naturally brown and black sheep, and designed in longitudinal, alternating lines of dark and light.
Best of all, the lasting quality of our winter blankets make them wonderful heirlooms, cherished and memorialized from one generation to the next. Create memories with your very own Swans Island handmade blanket.
Don’t forget to check out our event this Friday, October 24th at Portland Dry Goods! Swans Island Artisans, dyer Jackie Graf and weaving studio manager Laura Matthews, will be on-hand for demonstrations in spinning, dyeing, and weaving – all processes involved in making our beautiful blankets, throws, wraps, scarves and cowls.
Jackie has been with Swans Island for 5 years, and is heavily involved with product development and colors in the yarn department. She is an accomplished fiber artist who also teaches spinning and natural dyeing at fibers events throughout the country. She will bring her dyepot and spinning skills to PDG for an afternoon of fiber and color! Laura has a degree in fibers and is the weaving manager at the Swans Island studios. She creates custom designs for our clients and keeps the looms running smoothly. She will bring her weaving and knitting skills!
Finding a unique wedding gift for the couple can be challenging. The perfect gift is something that is stylish and beautiful, as well as timeless; something both the bride and groom can enjoy; and something meaningful that can be passed on from one generation to the next. Swans Island products make exquisite gifts and come elegantly packaged in a Swans Island gift box. Handcrafted with care, using the best fibers and processes, Swans Island blankets and throws are a one-of-a-kind way to commemorate new beginnings. We’ll even help you customize them for a uniquely personal, elegantly packaged gift.
Visit our new Swans Island Company Wedding Page, and let us help you choose the perfect gift for the perfect couple! When you arrive at Swans Island Wedding just fill out the form and we will be in touch.
Wedding season is a time of excitement here in Maine! With an endless array of breathtaking vistas and waterfront locations, many flock here for their special day. Recently, our friend Jessie tied the knot, and as a special thank you to her bridesmaids, she gifted them with Swans Island grey-and-white wraps, each trimmed in silk and bearing the Swans Island weaver’s mark.
The beautiful bride wore an elegant white wrap.
We think it’s the perfect keepsake for any bridal party: they are luxuriously soft, add a touch of elegance, and their sleek and simple design make them versatile enough to be worn at a relaxed rehearsal dinner, a pre-wedding bridal celebration, as well as the grand ceremony itself.
Might we suggest our Swans Island Wrap when you’re thinking of a unique and stunning gift for your maid of honor and bridesmaids? They can be customized for a personal touch and come packaged in a linen clutch.
* Photography by Sharyn Peavey
Swans Island isn’t just a blanket. It is a story. It is history and tradition interwoven with craft, vision and painstaking labor. We take pride in every aspect of our production, and we think it’s what sets us apart from other blanket companies.
Some of our fleece comes from a 250-acre sheep farm in Winterport, not too far from our Northport studio, and is spun into yarn at Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont, where it is then scoured in organic soap, its lanolin preserved for loft and moisture-wicking warmth. When it arrives at our dye house, we give it the best treatment possible, imparting dyes that are comprised of plants, minerals and insect shells, and that have been tested and modulated until its color is just right. Once dyed, our yarn is transformed into blankets, throws, and accessories by our team of talented weavers, who use air-assisted shuttle looms that require the utmost precision, patience, and delicacy.
Our minimalist design gives each of our products a timeless feel. Our respect for traditional processes and hand-crafted perfection make each Swans Island product a work of art, as well as a treasure for the home. Tour our website, or check out our blog, for more information on our history, process, and products. Or visit our studio to feel the luxurious warmth of Swans Island blankets.
Wrap yourself in timeless warmth.
It would seem that Spring has finally sprung here in the Northeast. We are always inspired by the natural palette that exists around us, and with that in mind, have been hard at work developing the color line for our new almost-in-stores yarn, Eco-wash. We are really excited about this yarn, it is organic merino that has been gently treated with an organic enzyme to render it washable. read more
As the pace of late November quickens we are bombarded by the scourge of American consumerism. Giant stores open earlier and earlier in the wee hours of the morning to offer us the opportunity to get our holiday shopping done at amazingly low prices. Electronics, plastic toys and games from other countries will line the shelves, supporting not necessarily the people who make the product but the huge corporations that market the Holiday Experience.
One of the things we love about midcoast Maine is the unique community of talented artisans, storytellers, farmers and chefs — people who share in the same love of process, craft and history that underlines our own work and mission at Swans Island. In our community, we share stories and ideas with each other. We collaborate. And when the seasons change, we get excited about new harvests and sit down to meals together. Sometimes we even share recipes. Our friends at Salt Water Farm, owner/chef Annemarie Ahearn and sous chef/garden manager Ladleah Dunn, shared two of their favorite springtime eats.
Maine winters are inexplicably stunning.
We recently had a visit to the Swans Island studio from the lovely Muffy Aldrich — who writes the Coastal New England lifestyle blog Daily Prep.
Thank you Muffy, and please visit again soon. You can visit her full post here: http://www.muffyaldrich.com/2011/10/swans-island-blankets.html